Originally founded in St. Louis amidst performances presented by ANNONYArts, director Ashley McQueen relocated Smashworks to New York City in 2015. After three years of company development, McQueen joined forces with friend Ana Lejava to launch Smashworks Advocacy, an initiative dedicated to the integration of human rights activism and performance.
A San Diego native raised in Singapore, Paris Michelle Cullen is a multidisciplinary artist currently based in New York City. Paris graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018 receiving BAs in both dance and psychology. As an experimental contemporary dancer, she is interested in athleticism, theatricality, improvisation, and dance platforms outside of the proscenium stage, influenced by her time training in gaga and social dances, particularly breakdance (with her crew UCSBreakin’). She has performed works internationally by Andrea Miller, Monica Bill Barnes, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, and José Limón. Paris is currently enjoying all NYC has to offer, including creating her own performance art, interning with Movement Research, and dancing with URBAN | TRIBE. As an active practitioner of conductive education, she is proud to say that her “day job” is anything but! Additionally, Paris’s creative process is one of collaboration—focusing on authenticity, identity, intersectionality, and relation. She aims to create conversation about various social and psychological issues via both performance and process.
Sarah Dodd hails from Syracuse, NY and recently graduated from the University at Buffalo where she earned a BFA in Dance. In her training, Sarah has attended Bates Dance Festival and performed works by Hilary Easton, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Robert Battle, Jennifer Archibald, and Koresh Dance Company. Sarah also presented choreography at the SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference and represented the school at the ACDA Northeastern Conference. Since her move to the city, Sarah has performed and continued to work with Smashworks Dance Collective and Now Dance Project.
Manon Hallay was born in France. She started dancing in the Conservatoire de Tarbes and went to Bordeaux at 13 to study in a pre-professional course. Two years later she has been accepted to the Royal Ballet School of Antwerpen and had the opportunity to work with choreographer as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui or Micheal Shannon. She moved out to New-York 5 years ago to integrate the Alvin Ailey school as a scholarship student. She is now dancing for several dance company including Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater, Smashworks Dance, and Les Ballets Nomades.
Louisa received her formal dance training in her home state of New Hampshire and is a graduate of the Certificate Program at Peridance Capezio Center, New York, NY. During her time in the program, she was selected to perform works by Igal Perry, Loni Landon, Ronald. K. Brown, Charlotta Ofverholm, Oniin Dance Company, and Caterina Rago. After completing the program, Louisa was part of the inaugural group at the Barton Movement's Axis Connect, where she performed an original work by Cindy Salgado. She has also performed professionally in New York with such choreographers as Yvonne Rainer for the Museum of Modern Art's Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done exhibition, Diego Funes, Pat Catterson, Pramila Vasudevan, Michelle Thompson-Ulerich, Emily Bufferd, Jacqueline Dugal, Monica Hogan, Yuki Hasagawa, and Joyce King. Most recently, Louisa premiered her own work, Strange Girl Dances: A Visual Duet with Melissa Stern, as part of a seven-episode collaboration with visual artist, Melissa Stern, at Garvey|Simon Gallery, New York, NY. Currently, she is collaborating on projects with Cleo Mack/The Rock Dance Collective and developing a new multi-media installation work with visual artist, Danielle Riede. Louisa is also the rehearsal director for De Funes Dance. In addition to performing, Louisa holds her B.A. in English Literature and Art History from New York University and is a coach at Row House, Columbus Circle. She is interested in finding the intersections between different mediums and modes of communication in all of her work.
Sarah Starkweather is a dancer and fitness professional living in New York City. Since 2009, Sarah has performed over 100 times with professional dance companies from Texas, Missouri, and New York. Sarah has worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, Amanda Selwyn, Liz Imperio, Ashle Dawson, Mitzi Adams, Ashley L. Tate, Jennifer Medina, and Ashley McQueen. Sarah holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio during which time she also began her classical training with Catalina Garza, Ernesto Quenedit and Esther Mayer of The Cuban National and Royal Ballet, respectively. Sarah is a founding member of the San Antonio Dance Fringe, and continues to teach technical and leadership workshops across the United States through MA Dance, for whom she also adjudicates regional and national dance competitions. Sarah has been a certified fitness trainer since 2014 and currently teaches group fitness classes for Equinox.